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Have You Heard of Laughter Yoga? Check Out the Top 10 Benefits

By Reniel

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Last Updated: December 15, 2021

Yoga is an age-old therapeutic practice that seeks to improve your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing through various poses, slow movements, and deep breathing techniques. 

Since its emergence in ancient times, yoga has evolved into various forms. There are now over ten different styles of yoga, and one of the latest entrants is hasya yoga, also known as laughter yoga.

 

So, What is Laughter Yoga (Hasya Yoga)?

Hasya yoga, also known as laughter yoga, is a modern style of yoga that urges participants to engage in sustained self-induced laughter as a form of therapy. It entails a series of exercises aimed to stimulate forceful laughing.

Laughter offers numerous health benefits, and according to scientific research, self-induced or simulated laughter has the same effects as spontaneous laughter. 

The mind cannot distinguish between simulated and spontaneous laughter. As a result, any form of laughter will trigger the body to release endorphins (feel-good hormones), subsequently lowering stress and boosting your mood.

 

Top Ten Benefits of Laughter Yoga

Whoever said, “laughter is the best medicine” was 100 percent right. A simple laughing session can help reduce stress, boost your mood, and relax your mind. 

As previously explained, any form of laughter triggers the brain to release endorphin hormones, causing an analgesic effect.

With that said, here are a few benefits of laughter yoga that you should know about:

1. Improves mental health and clarity

According to the Mind-Body Medicine concept, laughter yoga can significantly improve your mental health.

When you laugh, you inhale and exhale longer, allowing more oxygen into your body and eventually into your brain. More oxygen in the body makes your brain active and more focused for enhanced mental clarity.

2. Boosts the immune system

Laughter can strengthen your immune system, helping keep disease-causing pathogens at bay.

A burst of laughter increases the flow of lymphatic fluid throughout the body. The vigorous movement of your belly while you are laughing triggers the lymphatic system to release more lymphocytes and T-cells that fight viruses, bacteria, and other harmful organisms.

3. Lowers blood pressure

You may not know this, but laughter is a form of aerobic exercise.

It gives your abdominal muscles a workout and helps your heart pump more efficiently. As a result, laughter helps regular blood flow throughout your body. If you are struggling with hypertension or blood pressure issues, a good laugh can help lower your blood pressure.

4. Lowers stress and depression

The main highlight of laughter yoga is its ability to reduce stress and fight the symptoms of depression.

A good laugh triggers the body to release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones that leave an analgesic effect. According to some studies, laughter also stimulates the release of epinephrine and dopamine, which are renowned stress busters.

5. Improves heart health

A 2018 study shows that laughter yoga can help protect you from a heart attack.

The exercises involved in laughter yoga increase your pulse rate, causing your heart to pump more blood faster and more efficiently. With improved blood flow and reduced blood pressure comes improved cardiovascular health.

6. Relieves pain and physical discomfort

Believe it or not, laughter can help relieve pain and alleviate physical discomfort.

As you already know, laughter triggers the body to release endorphins, which are feel-good hormones. Endorphins have an opioid-like effect, which is essential in managing chronic pain. Research also shows that social laughter can help elevate your pain threshold.

7. Enhances lung capacity

When you laugh, your lungs receive a substantial amount of oxygen.

The increased air expands the tiny air sacs known as alveoli, subsequently enhancing your lung capacity. Laughter yoga also helps get rid of stale air as your lungs receive more oxygen, consequently improving your respiratory system.

8. Boosts your mood

Whether voluntary or spontaneous laughter, laughing aloud can significantly boost your mood.

After all, your mind can’t tell the difference between the two, so your body will release feel-good hormones, and you will remain as happy as a lark throughout the laughter yoga session.

9. Helps burn calories

If you are struggling with losing excess weight, consider having a good laugh.

According to research, 15 minutes of laughter a day can burn up to 40 calories. That’s not all. The amount of calories burned during a hundred laughs is supposedly equivalent to calories burned during 10 minutes of rowing!

10. Increases social bonding

Laughter yoga also has social benefits.

Laughter brings people together, and it strengthens bonds between loved ones. It can also help people settle their differences quickly and amicably after sharing a good laugh.

 

So, what next?

Whether self-induced or spontaneous, a good laugh does not cost you anything.

Prolonged laughter is ideal for your body, mind, and soul as it lowers stress and helps you relax your mind. Laughing also improves cardiovascular health, enhances lung capacity, and burns excess fats.

If you want to have a good laugh but don’t know how to go about it, consult a laughter yoga instructor near you for help. After all, laughter is the best medicine, and sure enough, you don’t want to miss out!   

Photo by Yan Krukov from Pexels

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